The Collier County Sheriff's Office is investigating two separate marijuana grow house busts in Golden Gate Estates that investigators said could be related. The two takedowns happened less than a week apart. The most recent happened Wednesday.
With guns in hand, SWAT team members and undercover Collier County deputies moved in at 4019 22nd Avenue N.E. A neighbor who didn't want to be identified watched it all unfold. "They knocked it (front door) down and then they shot off four of the loudest flash bangs I had ever seen," said the neighbor.
Investigators said nobody was home and some of the actual marijuana was already gone. According to the Collier County Property Appraiser's website, Aramis Rivero-Perez and Kenia Gonzalez are the homeowners.
"Things changed about two, three weeks ago. Their habits changed completely," the neighbor said.
"How much is back there now, obviously we have to weigh and look for. It has been somewhat cleaned up," Collier County Sheriff's Office Captain Harold Minch said.
Wednesday's pot bust was the second in that area in less than a week.
On Tuesday, couple Olga Datzer and Rafael Lantigua were arrested for 128 pounds of marijuana, more than $200,000 worth, only three miles down the road.That grow house was on 6th Avenue N.E.
Immediately you could tell the property wasn't maintained at all. The trees and grass were all overgrown, and that goes along with the fact deputies said nobody was living there. They said Datzer and Lantigua were only using it to grow pot.
Sheriff's officials wouldn't immediately say whether the two busts were related; but they said there's a good chance.
"Typically what we find is when they're in close proximity to one another there is some connection, but we're in the infant stages here," said Captain Minch.
The neighbor we spoke with wasn't surprised. "After I moved into Golden Gate Estates, reading about the word 'nefarious' on the websites, no," the neighbor said.
The sheriff's office said Wednesday's search warrant was a part of an ongoing investigation, one that they said isn't over yet.
By Bryan Anderson www.abc-7.com